This teenage Toronto tech-wiz raised $1.8 million
At first glance, Jordan Satok seems like the average Toronto high school graduate - except that he deferred a full scholarship to the University of Waterloo, started his own company, and raised a whopping $1.8 million dollars in VC capital that makes him one of Canada's youngest funded entrepreneurs.
Jordan's company, AppHero, is an intelligent recommendation platform for mobile apps. With a cutting edge team of developers and data scientists, AppHero will analyze your interests, preferences, and actions to recommend quality apps for your device. A combination of data science and common sense, its algorithm goes as far as analyzing your tweets to detect interests, while still keeping it as simple as just making sure it doesn't recommend too many paid apps to people who only use free ones.
As Jordan explains, with over 800,000 apps available in the app store, discovering new and quality apps has become increasingly difficult. With heuristics built around what defines a quality app (across a variety of verticals), the algorithm also analyzes app store reviews and developer comments for key phrases scoring apps by more than the most number of downloads or the most number of stars.
Admittedly, with competitors such as CrossWalk and Appsfire, the space is not new, however experiments show that AppHero users are "5 or 6 times more likely to download an app via AppHero than from another competing service", he says.
These increased download rates tie directly to their funding and revenue model. Already approached by carriers and OEMs who run their own stores, these companies have shown interest in licensing its recommendation algorithm hoping that the increased download rates will also result in increased sales. Beyond sales, these carriers also hope that providing a richer experience for consumers will help them to retain these users when contracts are up for renewal.
This carrier interest allowed AppHero's $1.8 million in funding to close in only 3 weeks from sources that include Toronto's own Omers Ventures and Golden Venture Partners, and a variety of angel investors - including Facebook executives. Satok says the funding lets them stay focused on building a great product allows them the flexibility to scale increase workforce and their office space and provide "app recommendations in 150ms or less".
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